Kunar Province

Kunar Province

Overview
Kunar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan
Provinces of Afghanistan
The provinces of Afghanistan are the primary administrative divisions of Afghanistan. As of 2004, there are thirty-four provinces in the country. Each province is further divided into smaller districts....

, located in the northeastern part of the country. Its capital is Asadabad
Asadabad, Afghanistan
Asadabad or Asad Abad is the capital city of Kunar Province in Afghanistan. It is located in the eastern portion of the country adjacent to Pakistan...

. It is one of the four "N2KL" provinces (Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

, Nuristan Province, Kunar Province and Laghman Province). N2KL is the designation used by US and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan for the rugged and very violent region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border opposite Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Federally Administered Tribal Areas
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas are a semi-autonomous tribal region in the northwest of Pakistan, lying between the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and the neighboring country of Afghanistan. The FATA comprise seven Agencies and six FRs...

 and North-West Frontier Province
North-West Frontier Province
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country...

.
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Encyclopedia
Kunar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan
Provinces of Afghanistan
The provinces of Afghanistan are the primary administrative divisions of Afghanistan. As of 2004, there are thirty-four provinces in the country. Each province is further divided into smaller districts....

, located in the northeastern part of the country. Its capital is Asadabad
Asadabad, Afghanistan
Asadabad or Asad Abad is the capital city of Kunar Province in Afghanistan. It is located in the eastern portion of the country adjacent to Pakistan...

. It is one of the four "N2KL" provinces (Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

, Nuristan Province, Kunar Province and Laghman Province). N2KL is the designation used by US and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan for the rugged and very violent region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border opposite Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Federally Administered Tribal Areas
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas are a semi-autonomous tribal region in the northwest of Pakistan, lying between the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and the neighboring country of Afghanistan. The FATA comprise seven Agencies and six FRs...

 and North-West Frontier Province
North-West Frontier Province
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country...

. Kunar is the center of the N2KL region.

Geography


Kunar province is located in the northeast of Afghanistan. It borders with Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar Province
Nangarhar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000, which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais....

 to the south, Nuristan Province to the north, Laghman Province to the west and has a border with Pakistan in the east. The province covers an area of 4339 km2. Nearly nine tenths (86%) of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain while one eighth (12%) of the area is made up of relatively flat land. The primary geographic features of the province are (1) the lower Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

 mountains which form, (2) the Kunar Valley
Kunar Valley
Kunar Valley or Chitral Valley is a valley in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan the length of the valley is almost entirely narrow with steep and rugged mountains on both sides. The center of the valley is occupied by the Kunar River flowing south where it joins the Kabul River...

, and (3) the Kunar River
Kunar River
The Kunar River is about 480 km long, located in eastern Afghanistan and north-western Pakistan. The Kunar river system is fed from melting glaciers and snow of the Hindu Kush mountains....

 which flows south along the north-south axis of the valley is a primary draining conduit for the Hindu Kush basin. The mountains, narrow valleys with steeps sides and river serve as formidable natural obstacles and have impacted all movement through the province throughout history. Even in the early 21st century movement on foot, with pack animals or with motorized vehicles is extremely limited and channeled due to the significant geographic restrictions. One famous Pashtun poet, Mohammad Hashem Zamani, was from Kunar.

Demographics & population


The total population of Kunar was estimated to be around 413,008 (CSO Afghanistan, 2006). Pashtuns
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 are in majority and make up 95% of the total population, followed by Nuristanis and Tajiks
Tajiks
Tajik is a general designation for a wide range of Persian-speaking people of Iranic origin, with traditional homelands in present-day Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan...

.

Around 96% of the population of Kunar lives in rural districts while 4% lives in urban areas.

Military activity



During the 19th century British military expeditions, the 20th century Soviet occupation, and the 21st century conflicts involving U.S., Afghan and NATO forces, Kunar has been a favoured spot of insurgent groups. Its impenetrable terrain, cave networks and border with the semi-autonomous Pakistani North-West Frontier Province
North-West Frontier Province
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country...

 provides significant advantages for unconventional warfare and militant groups. The province is informally known as "Enemy Central" and "Indian Country" by American and western armed forces serving in Afghanistan. Between January 2006 and March 2010 more than 65% of all insurgent incidents in the country occurred in Kunar.

Like many of the mountainous eastern provinces of Afghanistan, the groups involved in armed conflict vary greatly in strength and purpose. Native Taliban forces mingle with foreign Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 fighters, while mujahadeen militias, such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is an Afghan Mujahideen leader who is the founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami political party and paramilitary group. Hekmatyar was a rebel military commander during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan and was one of the key figures in the civil war that followed the...

's Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin
Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin
The Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin is an Afghan islamist political party.The original Hezb-e-Islami was founded in 1977 by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is now the head of HIG. The other faction is headed by Mulavi Younas Khalis who split with Hekmatyar and established his own Hezbi Islami in 1979...

, continue to operate as they did in the chaotic post-Soviet years. Another strong militia in the region is the Hezbi Islami
Hezbi Islami
Hezbi Islami , meaning Islamic Party is an Islamist organization commonly known for fighting in the Marxist Government of Afghanistan and their close ally the Soviet Union. Founded and led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, it was established in Pakistan in 1975...

 faction of the late Mulavi Younas Khalis
Mulavi Younas Khalis
Mawlawi Mohammad Yunus Khalis was a mujahideen commander in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. His party was called Hezb-i-Islami , the same as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's party...

, who had his headquarters in neighbouring Nurestan Province
Nurestan Province
Nuristān , also spelled Nurestān or Nooristan, is a region in Afghanistan embedded in the south of the Hindu Kush valleys. Its administrative center is Parun...

.
Compounding the problems of the province is an extensive criminal trade in smuggled lumber, semi-precious stones and other natural resources. This criminal activity is often organized along tribal lines, and has led to intense deforestation in some areas. The rugged border area has many illegal and hidden crossing points making Kunar a high traffic route for illegal arms transporting, insurgent movement and other smuggling activities.

The province, relatively small compared to others, has among the highest concentration of both US and Afghan security forces. Special Operations Forces operate extensively throughout the area.

As of September 2011 the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has awarded six Medals of Honor for action in Afghanistan. Five of these have been awarded for separate actions in Kunar province. Members of I Corps Artillery (deactivated and is now 65th Fires Brigade) of the Utah National Guard
Utah National Guard
The Utah National Guard consists of the:* Utah Army National Guard**19th Special Forces Group **85th WMD CST**97th Troop Command**115th Engineer Group **211th Aviation Group**300th MI Brigade **640th Regiment...

 served as Embedded Tactical Trainers (ETTs) while embedded with the Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 and U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division
10th Mountain Division
The 10th Mountain Division is a light infantry division of the United States Army based at Fort Drum, New York. It is a subordinate unit of the XVIII Airborne Corps and the only division-sized element of the U.S. Army to specialize in fighting under harsh terrain and weather conditions...

 throughout Kunar Province. The 1-14th Agriculture Development Team from the Illinois Army National Guard began working in Kunar in June 2011. ADTs from the California and Iowa National Guard have previously served in the province.

Searches for bin Laden


Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 had often been rumoured to be in the province, or close by. In an intensive military operation in summer 2005, called Operation Red Wing
Operation Red Wing
Operation Red Wings was a failed counter-insurgent mission in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, involving four members of the United States Navy SEALs, which took place on June 28, 2005....

, American forces undertook a massive hunt for bin Laden and other senior Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 leaders. While attempting to rescue four stranded Navy SEALs during the operation, 19 American Forces were killed when their CH-47 Chinook
CH-47 Chinook
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots is faster than contemporary utility and attack helicopters of the 1960s...

 helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

 was shot down, representing the second biggest loss of American forces since their invasion of the country.

According to Pakistan's
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 Interior Minister Rehman Malik
Rehman Malik
27 April 2009 He has been the interior adviser since 27 March 2008.Senator A. Rehman Malik is a Pakistani politician, member of the Senate of Pakistan, and the current Interior Minister of Pakistan under the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani administration. His Second name is Shetan Malik and he...

, Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 was most likely hiding in Kunar Province in the spring and summer of 2009: "According to our information Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar.”

Until Bin Laden was later found and killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan contrary to what the Pakistani government had previously stated.

Politics



Fazlullah Wahidi
Fazlullah Wahidi
Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi is a politician in Afghanistan. He is the governor of Kunar Province, appointed by President Hamid Karzai on November 18, 2007...

 replaced Assadullah Wafa
Assadullah Wafa
Assadullah Wafa is the former governor of the Afghan province of Helmand, and formerly governor of Kunar Province of Afghanistan and a previous governor of the Paktia Province where he was succeeded by Hakim Taniwal. His first name is sometimes spelled "Asadullah"...

 as the governor of Kunar Province on November 18, 2007.

Reconstruction and international assistance


Asadabad
Asadabad, Afghanistan
Asadabad or Asad Abad is the capital city of Kunar Province in Afghanistan. It is located in the eastern portion of the country adjacent to Pakistan...

 hosts both an American Provincial Reconstruction Team
Provincial reconstruction team
A Provincial Reconstruction Team is a unit introduced by the United States government, consisting of military officers, diplomats, and reconstruction subject matter experts, working to support reconstruction efforts in unstable states. PRTs were first established in Afghanistan in late 2001 or...

 at nearby Forward Operating Base Wright and a UNAMA development office. Additionally, representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), US State and Agriculture Departments advise the local government. A US Army Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) was deployed to the province in late 2009. Successive ADTs continue to serve in the province.

In media


The 2010 documentary Restrepo
Restrepo
-People:*José Manuel Restrepo, a Colombian political figure, botanist and historian*Carlos Eugenio Restrepo, a Colombian politician and lawyer*Laura Restrepo, a Colombian writer*Ximena Restrepo, Colombian athlete...

 was filmed in the Korengal Valley of Kunar Province.

The story told in the book Lone Survivor took place in the Korengal Valley of Kunar Province.

Districts


The districts in Kunar Province as of March 2004 are:
align=center style="background:#BFD7FF"| Districts of Kunar Province
District Capital Pop. Area Notes
Asadabad
Asadabad district
Asadabad district is one of 15 districts in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. It includes the city of Asadabad - the district center, close the Kunar River. It is situated in the central part of the province...

 
29,177 Is the Capital of Kunar Province, which includes Asadabad and adjacent towns, immediately surrounding the confluence of the Pech and Kunar Rivers.
Bar Kunar
Bar Kunar district
Bar Kunar District is situated in the northeastern part of Kunar Province, Afghanistan. It borders Asadabad district to the southwest, Nuristan Province to the northwest, Nari district to the northeast and Dangam district to the southeast. The population is 19,500 - all Pashtun...

 
20,716
Chapa Dara
Chapa Dara district
Chapa Dara District is situated in the western part of Konar Province, Afghanistan and borders Nuristan Province. The population is 27,500 . The district is mountainous and farming and animal husbandry are not possible in the whole district. Some people work abroad...

 
28,681
Dangam
Dangam district
Dangam District is situated in the eastern end of Kunar Province, Afghanistan. It borders Marawara district to the west, Asadabad district to the northwest, Bar Kunar district to the north, Nari district to the northeast and Pakistan to the east and south. The district is mountainous and poor. The...

 
15,509
Dara-I-Pech
Dara-I-Pech District
Dara-I-Pech District is located western-central part of Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 30 km West from Asadabad. The population is 48,400 . The district is governed from Mano Gai...

 
44,958 Commonly known as the Pech District or Manogai District.
Ghaziabad
Ghaziabad district, Kunar Province
Ghaziabad District is situated in the northern part of Kunar Province, Afghanistan. It was created in 2004 from the northern part of Bar Kunar District. The population is 7,500 . The district center is the village of Ghaziabad at 1271 m altitude. The area is mountainous and there is little arable...

 
Ghaziabad 7,500 formerly northern Bar Kunar District
Khas Kunar
Khas Kunar district
Khas Kunar District is the largest district in the Kunar Province, Afghanistan. It is situated in the southern part of the province and borders Nangarhar Province to the south and Pakistan to the east. The Kunar River passes north through the district and irrigates the surrounding land. The...

 
31,950
Marawara
Marawara District
Marawara District is one of the 15 districts in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan to the east. It borders Sirkanay district to the west, Asadabad district to the westand northwest and asmar district to northeast. Marawara's population is not exactly known but CSO and UN figures...

 
17,316
Narang  27,937
Nari
Nari district
Nari District is a boundary mountainous district in the most eastern part of Kunar Province in Afghanistan. It borders Bar Kunar District to the west, Nuristan Province to the north, Pakistan to the east and Dangam district to the south. The population is 24,500 —60% of them Pashtun...

 
32,510
Nurgol  25,047
Sawkai  28,905
Shigal  33,781 formed from northeastern Dangam District
Sirkani  24,080
Wata Pur
Wata Pur district
Watapur District is situated in the central part of Kunar Province, Afghanistan. It was split from Asadabad district. The district is mountainous with 60 big and small villages. The population is 24,300 . The villages are located in the valleys or in the high mountains, with difficult or no road...

28,778 formed from northwestern Asadabad District